IBJNews

Dems, GOP marshal troops in last weekend of race

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Democratic and Republican volunteers took the phones and the Indiana sidewalks on Saturday to make sure their supporters make it to the polls by or on Election Day.

With early voting set to end Monday and Election Day on Tuesday, the parties switched strategies to focus less on winning over undecided voters than on making sure their backers cast ballots.

Roughly a dozen Democratic volunteers met at the Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio Regional Council of Carpenter's training center just off of Interstate 65 in Greenwood on Saturday with the hopes of pumping up the Democratic party base.

Democratic party organizer Nate Vaught handed them disposable cell phones and call sheets and trained them on the many necessities of calling voters: always be nice; be ready with polling locations and hours, even if the voter is a Republican; and 45 minutes is too long to spend talking to one voter, even if they want a yard sign.

"If we can get all out people out to vote, we're going to win," said Bob Kramer, vice chair of the Johnson County Democratic Party.

The tens of thousands of phone calls volunteers made Saturday are all part of the get-out-the-vote effort the parties run in the critical final days of the election.

Close to a decade ago, that push meant doing everything possible to flood the polls on one day, but early voting stretched that from a days-long operation into a months-long proposition. Democrats dominated early voting efforts in the 2008 race, but Republicans caught up this year and have pushed early voting with equal intensity. Early voting ends at noon Monday.

2012 is shaping up to be a much better year for Republicans in Indiana than 2008. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is expected to carry the state four years after President Barack Obama narrowly did so. And Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence seems poised to keep the governor's office in the GOP's hands for another four years.

But Democrats see a rare bright spot in conservative Indiana with polls showing that Democrat Joe Donnelly taking a lead over Republican Richard Mourdock in the heavily contested Senate race. One poll released Friday showed that Mourdock's comments in a Senate debate about abortion and rape may have sunk his candidacy, driving large numbers of women to Donnelly's camp. Another poll released Saturday showed the race is still too close to call.

Nancy Kirklin, a Johnson County Democratic volunteer, said Mourdock's comments fired up women in this Republican stronghold just south of Indianapolis. Johnson is one of the "doughnut" counties encapsulating the Indianapolis suburbs and exurbs where swing voters and "Lugar Republicans" are expected to determine whether Republicans hold the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.

If there was an enthusiasm gap for Democrats at the top of their ballot, Mourdock's comments appear to have erased much of it.

"I've seen it on Facebook, I saw women change their minds," Kirklin said, while other women volunteers nodded in agreement.

If the more than $25 million spent on-air in the Senate race and more than $10 million spent on advertising in the governor's battle was meant to craft voters' views on the candidates, the get-out-the-vote effort is meant to make sure they act.

It's hardly as flashy as the advertising war and technology has made it even easier to set up a campaign call center just about anywhere, but the get-out-the-vote centers are an integral part of the parties' efforts to win on Election Day.

Just before 3 p.m., Republican field representative Jenna Knepper said her office had logged 5,500 phone calls. Party spokesman Pete Seat said they had made more than 1.6 million calls for the election.

The phones at the campaign office look like standard land-lines, but they hooked back into a portable internet server, which whirred loudly as the internal fan attempted to keep up with the 24 lines being routed through it to a party laptop. Knepper said she can carry the server and the phones just about anywhere to create a Republican call center.

"As long as it has an Internet connection, we'll take it," Seat chimed in.

Democratic and Republican workers said despite their persistence, they're painfully aware many voters are just tired of the bombardment, on-air and over the phone. In four days, that won't be an issue anymore.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Thank you to the scientists who care enough to find a cure. We are so lucky that their intelligence has brought them to these understandings because it is through these understandings that we have new hope. Certainly the medicine will be expensive, these drugs usually are, especially the ones that are not mass produced. If I know anything from the walks that my town has put on for FA it is this: people care and people want to help. Donations and financial support can and will come to those who need it. All we need is a cure, the money will come. I mean, look at what these scientists have done thanks to the generosity of donors. 30 million dollars brings us here where we can talk about a drug's existence! There is so much to be frustrated about in this world, but this scientific break is not one of them. I am so happy for this new found hope. Thank you so much to the scientists who have been slaving away to help my friends with FA. We wish you speedy success in the time to come!

  2. I love tiny neighborhood bars-- when I travel city to city for work, it's my preference to find them. However, too many still having smoking inside. So I'm limited to bars in the cities that have smoking bans. I travel to Kokomo often, and I can promise, I'll be one of those people who visit the ma and pa bars once they're smoke free!

  3. I believe the issue with keystone & 96th was due to running out of funds though there were other factors. I just hope that a similar situation does not befall ST RD 37 where only half of the overhaul gets built.

  4. It's so great to see a country founded on freedom uphold the freedom for all people to work and patronize a public venue without risking their health! People do not go to bars to smoke, they can take it outside.

  5. So, Hurko, mass transit has not proven itself in Indy so we should build incredibly expensive train lines? How would that fix the lack of demand? And as far as those double decker buses to bus people in from suburbs, we can't fill up a regular sized buses now and have had to cancel lines and greatly subsidize others. No need for double decker buses there.

ADVERTISEMENT